PDP govs to NNPC: You’re starving States, LGs of funds

 Governors elected on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) have accused the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) of not making its statutory contributions to the Federation Allocation Account (FAAC) thereby starving the states and local governments and indeed Nigerians of funds.

This was contained in a communiqué issued Monday at the end of PDP Governors’ Forum meeting held in Uyo, Akwa Ibom state.

 The PDP Governors’ Forum also admonished other agencies of government such as the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Nigerian Communication Commission (NCC), Federal Inland Revenue Services (FIRS) and the Department of Customs & Excise to up their contributions to the Federation Allocation Account. 

 Chairman of the forum and Sokoto state Governor Aminu Waziri Tambuwal made the positions known at the end of the meeting.

He said: “The Forum examined the operations of the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), and expressed alarm at the opaque manner it carries out its operations. It decried the recent NNPC’s decision not to make its statutory contributions to the Federation Account, thereby starving the States and Local Governments and indeed Nigerians of funds needed for employment, development and general wellbeing. 

 “The meeting emphasised that under the Constitution, the NNPC is duty-bound to make proceeds of sale or business of petroleum available to the Federation Allocation Account which belongs to the three tiers of government, excluding reasonable and verified and verifiable cost of operations. The federal government through the NNPC is a manager of our oil wealth merely as trustee for all Nigerians. 

 “The meeting frowned at a situation where the NNPC decides in a totally discretionary and often whimsical manner, how much to spend, how to spend it and how much to remit to the Federation Account, contrary to the letters and even the spirit of the 1999 Constitution.”

 The communiqué further said: “The PDP Governors also expressed deep concerns on the operational system and methods of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).  It viewed with regrets that the CBN is operating as an independent government within a Government, which is a pervasion of the autonomy of the Bank. A situation where CBN creates money, decides how much of it to spend, on what to spend it on without any form of controls or supervision is patently subversive of our constitutional order. 

 “It has become not just a leviathan, but also a father Christmas of sorts, dabbling into every sphere and scope of governmental activity, not just as a lender of last resort, but as a full executing agency of government.” 

 They frowned at the rising and seemingly uncontrollable debt profile of Nigeria with over 80% of normal Appropriation spent on debt servicing, noting that “money should only be borrowed for productive purposes as Nigeria’s current debt of over N36 Trillion Naira is becoming unsustainable relative to our earnings and GDP.” 

 The Forum also reiterated its call for the “Revenue Mobilisation, Allocation and Fiscal Commission to urgently send the revised Revenue Allocation Formula to Mr President for onward transmission to the National Assembly for enactment, such that more resources are made available to States and Local Governments where ordinary Nigerians reside.”

 “The meeting expressed support for the implementation of judicial and legislative autonomy in the Federation and States, in conformity with the extant provisions of the 1999 Constitution. 

“The meeting examined the suspension of Twitter from operating in Nigeria and condemned the personalised reasons given for the action. The mere ego of Mr President is not enough for such a drastic action that deprives millions of Nigerians from such an affordable means of expression and communication. We hope that this is not a harbinger or early warning signs of descent into dictatorship.

“This will further worsen Nigeria’s 33% unemployment rate which is the highest in the world, improve Nigerias ranking as the country with second highest poverty rate in the entire world, all of which happened under APC’s unfortunate stewardship. 

 “The meeting consequently requested Mr. President to review the suspension of Twitter operations in Nigeria in the national interest,” the communiqué further stated.  

In attendance  at the meeting were Governors  Okezie Ikpeazu (Abia state) who is the vice chairman,  Udom Emmanuel (Akwa Ibom), Douye Diri (Bayelsa), Samuel Ortom (Benue),  Ifeanyi Okowa (Delta), Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi (Enugu),  Nyesom Wike (Rivers), Oluseyi Abiodun Makinde (Oyo),  Ahmadu Umaru Fintiri (Adamawa), Godwin Obaseki (Edo), Bala Mohammed (Bauchi),  Darius Ishaku (Taraba) and Deputy Governor Mahdi Mohammed of Zamfara state.

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